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Top-end Audiophile USB Cable with Separate Signal and Power Cables
Jay Victor's design for Pangea Audio's Premier XL USB Cable goes all out with an ultra-quiet approach by using separate cables to carry the signal and the power. The only meeting point of the two cables is at the USB B connector.
Premier XL USB is packed full of other premium features, too. It boasts precision-wound 23-gauge signal conductors using the best copper on the market, Cardas Grade One Copper, plus a 6% pure silver plating. It also features nitrogen-injected foamed PE polyethylene insulation, quad shielding, and a tough woven nylon braided jacket.
It's Not Just Zeros and Ones
We occasionally get questions about USB cables from customers who are getting into digital audio streaming. They wonder why it would be worth investing in an audiophile-grade USB cable when they've been told that all USB cables are created equal as far as digital signals are concerned that a $5 cable conveys the "zeros and ones" of a digital stream just as well as a more expensive cable.
For the definitive answer, we asked Pangea Audio cable design expert, Jay Victor, "How can one digital USB cable sound better than another?"
"A USB cable is not just carrying a bunch of zeros and ones," explained Jay. "The cable carries an electrical signal from one circuit to another. Lots of things can interfere with this signal, like radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI). Anything that affect that signal will cause distortion. Some of these distortions are bound to be audible."
This made sense to us. We've heard differences between the various USB cables we sell. Some of our customers swear by USB cables costing $1,000 and more. So USB cable quality definitely matters. However, the cost of a high-quality cable doesn't have to break the bank. Especially when the cable is made by Pangea Audio.
"How Can We Make Our USB Cables Better?"
After three years of making and selling the popular Pangea Audio USB-PC and USB-AG cables, Pangea Audio challenged Jay. How could he make these cables even better?
"I can think of two things right away. We can increase the gauge of the signal conductors and use a more advanced type of insulation," answered Jay. "But give me a little time and I'll think of some more things to improve."
A few weeks later, Jay followed up. "I came up with three designs "My top-end cable, Pangea Premier XL USB, will take any system into a new dimension," beamed Jay. "It has an innovative design that's sure to be sonically superior to anything on the market under $400. "The main problem with all USB cables is that the power conductor is inside the jacket close to the signal conductors. You can reduce interference from the power signal with a separate shielding and common-mode (twisted pair) shielding of the conductors as I do in all my designs, but I have figured out an even better way.
"Why not remove the power leg completely from the equation by putting it in its own cable? Its only meeting point will be at the USB B connector. This creates a cable with two USB legs, but most audiophiles don't use their USB cable to power their DAC. The power leg is only used to drive miniature portable DACs. I've tried this cable design in my own system and the improvement is somewhere between surprising and shocking. I mean 'shocking' as in shockingly good."
Cardas Grade One Copper
Premier XL USB features precision-wound 23-gauge signal conductors using Cardas Grade One Copper plus a 6% pure silver plating. The insulation consists of premium nitrogen-injected foamed PE polyethylene.
Cardas Grade One Copper is mined in Arizona, then shipped to a New England factory where it is very S-L-O-W-L-Y drawn into conductors in a process that includes reduction annealing between steps to further purify and meld the copper into what George Cardas calls "the most amazing audio conductor I have ever experienced. It is quite simply the best copper on the planet."
"The bottom line is that the best phono cartridges manufactured in the world, the best transformer winders, and the best cable manufactures in the world are converting to this smooth sounding Cardas Grade One Copper," George reports.
"It is simply stunning how using a combination of space age technology (reduction annealing) and ancient drawing process (diamond dies and a slow multi stage annealing) can result in such a refined product."
Hearing is Shockingly Believing
We tested Jay's new Premier XL USB cable with several high-end audio DACs and the improvement was indeed shocking shockingly good! We heard a bigger improvement with Premier XL USB than we heard with upgrading the DAC's power cord and, in one case, a bigger improvement than adding a separate external power supply. Yikes!
Try the Premier XL USB cable to hear the difference yourself. If you don't hear a huge improvement, please return it for a full refund.